Team in Danger!

Team 1022 is in danger. Here are our problems:

  • Our school has too many teams to compete with for members and not enough interest.
  • We’re losing our main sponsor and our money situation is looking bleak.
  • 1/3 of our team is graduating this year and their knowledge wasn’t passed on nearly as well as we’d have liked.
  • Our GE/Regal-Beloit mentors have an unstable work situation and may not be able to help us next year.

The options we’re considering now include:

  • Vex
  • BEST robotics
  • Slow build / year off
  • End of team

We’re pretty sure that we’re going to have to be a multi-school team, for you teams out there who are multi-school, how does that work out for you? Any advice, ideas, suggestions, ect?

Let me explain the slow build idea. We’d basically take a year off to teach new members, fundraise, ect. We’d build a robot and enter only off-season events. That cuts down our cost by a substantial amount and gives us lots of time to build and teach.

BEST is very similar to first, but much smaller.

Does anyone have any suggestions/advice/help/ideas/ect? Right now our leading idea is the slow build, but we’re still going to need lots of help from all of you. We’re leaning heavily towards getting out of FIRST, but I really want to stay. FIRST boasts about the companionship and gracious professionalism that the FIRST family has, so here’s a chance to prove that true.

I’m very sorry to hear about 1022. You guys are a really nice team.

I am on Team 461, WBI, in W. Lafayette IN. We are comprised of 2 local highschools, formerly 3, but now Jefferson High School is a separate team affiliated with the same Purdue University program.

Multi-school teams are only a hassle if you make them be a hassle. Here are a few tips on getting started:

Callouts are crucial. Make them informative, organized, and plan ahead. Provide calendars of meetings. Provide event information. Provide FIRST brochures. Make it fun, have free food. Do presentations for science classes where people may have interest.

Your concept of Slow Build is intersting. It has a few advantages and a few disadvantages I see. The main advantage is training. The main disadvantage is taht if you don’t compete, it may be harder to get sponsorship. Here is what I would recommend:

If you are registered for IRI, bring potential members with you to see the competition and get them hyped for a great year. If you aren’t, bring them down to watch. It’s a great event, and a lot of fun, and in-state transportation is easier to handle.

Next year, only attend 1 regional competition, or 2 if you’re close enough to 2. In-state is always less expensive than out of state, and Boilermaker is a great Regional.

Start training for build early in the fall. Train students specifically in what they need to know to succeed during build season. Train them in pneumatics, electronics, programming, information technology, and any other thing you choose. Make it fun. As a veteran, you have the resources and the experience to reach out and help new members. Use it, and things will go well.

Good luck!

  • Genia

Sorry to hear this. I’d recommend doing a few exhibitions, at a sponsor’s place, at school. Definitely pull back on some FIRST activity…only go to one regional, maybe do a few off-season competitions and bring the school board. Good luck!

Go outside of your local area to look for sponsors. Write up hundreds of proposals and requests, get people out and about. Do not let your team die. Get everyone out to fundraise, start NOW. Do demo’s with your robot(s), fundraise like crazy. Hit up local businesses, all of them. Do whatever it takes to keep your team alive.

Our team (1014) is a three high school team. We started as a two school team and then the school district opened a third high school. Are there other high schools in your district you could partner with?

If so, then the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to reach out now. Get students from another school (and as importantly at least one teacher from the other school) interested now. A new school can mean new ideas and fresh excitement.

Multi-school teaming is not really that hard. The biggest issue is communication. You have to devise a system to keep everyone informed about what is happening. You can do this by having returning members step up and take responsibility for various activities. You have to make sure that all of the schools involved get information and that no one feels second-class.

Remember that rookie teams start with no experience. Leverage the experience you do have by working this fall. You might even want to do some work this summer while your veterans are still around. Plan some lab activities for the fall.

If you are losing a major sponsor, start looking now for more sponsors. Make up a brochure, train everyone in what to say and then get out and pound the pavement looking for sponsors. You should also look for grants. A lot of these can be found by searching the internet, and a perhaps even better (and certainly less-utilized) resource is your local library. Librarians can be of immense aid in any search for information.

This is something I hate to see. You guys are one heck of a team and always have been a great friend of 45. You guys should work your butts off this summer and I am sure there are prospected sponsors in your area. The school would be the biggest thing to get around. Try to show them what you can learn from FIRST, and how enjoyable it is for kids. Keep with it guys, I know you can come through, this will only make your team stronger in the long run.

Sorry to hear about your team. But as far as the multi-school idea, it seems to work really well for us. Personally I enjoy the idea because it gives you access to more resources and a whole bunch of new people to have fun with! A couple of things with this are communication and too much school pride(it may sound weird but can cause problems). The solutions we have to these problems are:

Communication: This one is rather simple to solve so long as your team has easy access to the internet. We use an e-group that all of our members are signed up with. If something needs to go out to the entire team you simply send the e-mail/message through the group and everyone will get it. It’s great for sharing meeting times, important dates, etc.

School Pride: Yes this sounds foolish, but if you have multiple high schools in your area I’m sure you’ve noticed this with sports teams. We’re lucky enough to have a local shop sponsored to us to work in. We do use still use the schools for they’re resources but our main spot for the robot is the local shop. Also extra advice for this one is to NOT name your team after one high school.

I’m not sure how much this information has helped you, but good luck with finding funds and members! Just get out there and spread the great word of FIRST.

I agree with Ryan…

… Jill thats the best way to get the local companies attracted to robotics. Take your robot out there, do a presentation on FIRST and what do you guys do. Why do you guys want it. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask.

Multischool teams are great if you could get kids from another school involved. My school’s principal and dean of students are pushing for a FIRST team, the problem is the guy we want to be an advisor isn’t completely sure if he could take the time to do it. If he agrees we’d probably combine (or offer to combine) with an existing team because we’re in a key sponsor area with 2 existing teams within 10 minutes of our school.

In the past we have had members on Team 237 and 1071 (I don’t think either team regrets it or has a bad thing to say about the years they were multischool). Unfortunatly, neither team has maintained a close relationship with my school over the years, but if either team decided to really push FIRST and demo robots to our students and help kids put presure on teachers to become advisors, the administration would have OKed it. After we had a few kids on team 237, a few kids on 1071, my school now realizes it’s a good program to look into really supporting since we’ve had kids continue to join teams year after year. I’m willing to bet you guys could find another school or two that would be like mine and allow you guys to come in and open up your team to their students.

Who knows, if you guys find another school that’s interested, you may find that they have a generous board of education to put up some money for the team as wekk,

If worse comes to worse, maybe your advisors and students could find another team nearby to combine with for a year or two and try and rebuild the program.

Thanks for all the feedback guys, keep it coming, we need all the help we can get, I can’t imagine losing my team now.

You keep suggesting only going to one regional a year, but we already do that. We’ve never been to more than one regional per year. Most of our money the students and mentors raise, a very very very small percent is sponsership money. Our team only had 15 students this year, we’re small.

Multi-school seems to be the only way we’re going to have more students.

As far as I see it, we really need to quadruple our sponsorship efforts and just find another place to build. Thats actually one of our biggest problems right now, we’re going to be losing our build shop and our school has no metal shop/wood shop.

If you don’t have one Jill, create one of these:
http://www.cybersonics.org/cybersonics/contribute.asp
-then send all of the kids/parents/mentors out into the community with 20 copies each.

I’m from team 1055 in Chicago and we were basically in the same situation as you guys are now. Unfortunately we did not have a sponsor and our school was completely unwilling to pay for any part of the team. Our teachers decided that we were going to take a year off and see if it was possible to continue the team next year. Thankfully I discovered the vex competition and we will be competing in that next year.

Just wanted to share my experiences. Good Luck!

A callout is definitely a good idea. One of the last major callouts we had/needed was at the end of my freshman year. The demonstration was for junior high students to get them involved in robotics next year, either with Lego League for 7th graders or FRC as freshmen. I drove the 2001 robot and capped a troublemaker :yikes: , and the next year, there were at least 20 new members. (I admit, it probably wasn’t all my credit :smiley: ). Also go to local events (I’m sure there are quite a few in Fort Wayne) and display the robot there. Small businesses are extremely generous and community-aware, so try approaching several small businesses and ask them for small amounts of money. Of course, be organized. Have a team of 3 or 4 people, including someone who the boss/owner knows somewhat well, and give a 3 - 5 minute presentation about the team and its community goals. Include plenty of time for questions and answers: there will be many. Also, don’t ask for money. If they are convinced, they will offer money to you. If they offer services, take them. They could be as valuable, if not more valuable than the money itself. It doesn’t even have to be metal/pvc related, even pizza donations work. Try this, and if it doesn’t work, keep 1022 going (maybe through VeX), or don’t compete one year, but focus that year on fundraising. And remember, hard work always pays off. It’s just a question of when it pays off.

15 students…WOW :ahh:
We had only 7 students on our team. We had more mentors than students.
We worked out of an church basement. We only had a Drill Press, Belt Sander and a Band Saw to build our bot.
We didn’t have real sponsorship till about one week before kick-off.
We only went to one regional (Boilermaker) and no Nats.
The reason I bring this up is to let you know any thing can be done if you have the drive and willingness to succeed.
We are just down the road from you in Huntington and we will help you if we can.
All I ask is that you stay with FIRST. It’s a great place to be :wink:

Wayne Doenges
Lemmings non Sumus (We are not Lemmings)

Team 180 has been a multi-school team since it’s birth. This year we expanded to include the two newest high schools in the county, so we now have team members from four different high schools.

Logistically, it is not too difficult to pull off. You need at least one teacher from each school as a contact point for the students.

We try to spread the meetings around in the pre-season so each school has some visibility to the team.

The one thing that helps us out is that we have solid support from the principals of each school and the school disctrict.

As for funding, I can only suggest getting the word out through the malls, and newspapers.

Good luck with your efforts. I hate to see any team fold. It’s too good of a program.

as warren b. stated it is hard with multi schools with support and rules about having a teacher representing each school…so good luck with that.

funding…go to malls, outside of businesses to get the word out…especially go to small local businesses and just ask for like 10 bucks. it slowly adds up. candy sales work wonders it seems at my school just go to bjs or sams or costco and buy bulk.

a home…we had that problem forever in s.p.a.m. finally we have a solid home. we moved 3 times during build season one year. we went to a warehouse that had some empty space for rent… try to make a deal…instead of paying rent that can be their way of funding the team. publix use to just provide subs, sodas and chips as their funding for S.P.A.M.
or if you have a willing parent to give up their garage that would be nice…

try for grants…always some around…talk to your teachers and staff at your school and show them how important this program is along with the school board and community…put out a news article in the local news and get on TV!! people love to help out if they realize it’s how great FIRST is…some businesses just love you aren’t asking to fund a sport or cheerleading.

BEST OF LUCK!!!

Team 104 has been struggling the last 2 years. 2005 could be it. I’m going to try and find some hope for a couple VEX teams. I think we have fallen below critical mass to continue the FRC team. That’s the appeal of VEX. It has a low buy in and can be more of an independent study for students. We too are a muti school team. I’m looking at some possible games to have between the 2 high schools The first one is maze madness.

sorry to hear that. i do agree that the multi-school idea is good, the only problem is with mulit-school robotics teams is that sometimes its hard to get things settled with where you guys are gonna build( which school) and sometimes theres some friction between people from the other school. but if you choose a school that you guys trust and everything, you would be able to create an awesome multi-school team which i bet you guys will… good luck from team 22

that realy sucks… your team was really cool …

well team 1596 is comprised of …4 schools…

SSM Ontario, Korah C & VS (13 ppl), St. Basils (1 person),
SSM Michigan, SOO High (12 ppl), Brimley (2ppl)

logistically…all the build members travel to the school with the best equipment, then the animation and webdesign team go to place with best computers. and any other stuff that can be made in other places gets done… but keep one place central (likely your school since you guys started the team), and have a email list (our head mentors all have a list of our email addys… all events are sent to us … *they just go send to “Team” and it sends to all the ppl on that list…

that seamed to work really well. as long as you delegate the tasks up and make shure everyone knows whos in charge (per school) and one ultimate head person…

Our team is also very small (about 16 students and 1/4 are graduating). We also don’t have a major corporate sponser. However we are supported by many local foundations and our school board pays the entrance fee.

Even with the much appreciated support and great mentors, the students have to raise about 15,000 dollars (assuming we continue to go to two regionals.)

Most of our fundraising is done by students going off in groups of two (generally) and asking local businesses in our rural area for sponsorship. This has been very successful. We also try to get involved in community festivals such as Railroad Days and the local Audubon festival. Charging $1 to drive the robot seems to be pretty successful.

As for recruiting students…most have come because they had heard about it from a friend. So see how many friends you can make and get them to come.

Best of luck!